NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The world of comedy and entertainment has lost a legend.
Carl Reiner has passed away at the age of 98. The award winning writer/director/actor influenced generations of performers with a career that spanned decades.
“Every morning, I pick up my newspaper, get the obituary section, see if I’m in it. If I’m not, I eat breakfast,” Reiner joked in a recent documentary.
He made us laugh for more than 60 years.
Last night my dad passed away. As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) June 30, 2020
Born in the Bronx in 1922, he first gained national fame as a writer and performer on Sid Caesar’s Your Show Of Shows. His co-writers on the live sketch comedy series included future luminaries Neil Simon, Woody Allen, and Mel Brooks.
He and Brooks remained best friends into their golden years. The pair teamed up to form to form a legendary comic duo. Their most famous bit was Brooks playing “The 2000 Year Old Man.”
As in one routine:
Reiner: “Many, many hundreds of years ago most men had more than one wife. Did you ever practice polygamy in those days?”
Brooks: “I never practiced it. I was perfect at it!”
And in another:
Reiner: “What has kept you alive for 2,000 years?”
Also in the ’60’s, Reiner developed a TV show starring himself, called Head Of The Family. It flopped. So he tinkered with it and recast it, and it became The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Ceding the lead to Dick Van Dyke, Reiner took on the role of pompous boss Alan Brady. The Dick Van Dyke Show ran on CBS for five years, earning 15 Emmys.
“I can’t write jokes. There are guys that write jokes that – I’d love to be able to write jokes – but I have a funny bent in my head and I will go straight and all of a sudden something will occur to me that will make it funny,” Reiner said.
Reiner also found success on the big screen, directing movies including four with Steve Martin, and co-starring in the Ocean’s Eleven franchise. He did a lot of directing, including four films starring Steve Martin.
He was also the father of a famous son: Actor/director Rob Reiner.
“Last night my dad passed away. As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light,” his son, director Rob Reiner, wrote on Twitter.
It was Rob’s mother, Carl’s wife Estelle, that delivered one of the most memorable lines in movie history: “I’ll have what she’s having,” from When Harry Met Sally.
In a recent tweet, Reiner reaffirmed that love saying “that I have lived the best life possible by having met & marrying the gifted Estelle.”
Nothing pleases me more than knowing that I have lived the best life possible by having met & marrying the gifted Estelle (Stella) Lebost—who partnered with me in bringing Rob, Annie & Lucas Reiner into to this needy & evolving world.
— carl reiner (@carlreiner) June 27, 2020
Reiner was a steady presence on Twitter, with more than 6,500 tweets. In another recent one, he can be seen with his daughter Annie and best friend Mel, all wearing Black Live Matter t-shirts.
A picture of Carl Reiner with daughter Annie and recent birthday boy, Mel Brooks all in Black Lives Matter shirts. Fourteen hours ago, he tweeted a multi-part appreciation of Noel Coward. Reiner turned 98 in March. That's a lot of time spent being a good human. pic.twitter.com/Da1mmPpeFM
— Brian Heater (@bheater) June 30, 2020
Tributes to Reiner poured in.
George Clooney called him “an incredible gift to us all.”
The Greatest. pic.twitter.com/AjlGKQXezG
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) June 30, 2020
Stephen Colbert said simply “the greatest.”
In his twilight years, Reiner remained sharp – tweeting, writing and performing. In 2017, Reiner and his famous nonagenarian friends starred in the HBO documentary If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakast.
A recent profile on CBS Sunday Morning showed Reiner to be as sharp and funny as ever, even in a socially distant conversation with Brooks.
Together with his famous friends, Carl Reiner showed the world age is just a number, and funny is forever.